Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things

Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things

8. Perceiving dissenting opinions as disrespect.
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We all know there are fundamental differences between raising black children and raising white children. But black parents really do some of the most bizarre and damaging things. Here is an incomplete list of things black parents really need to stop doing to their children.

1. Requiring us to contribute financially while we are still in our teen years and early twenties.

Many black parents, especially, encourage their children to start working as soon as they are the legal age too. That in itself is not usually a problem.

Where the issue comes in is when black parents funnel most, if not all, of their children income into their own. My first year out of high school was also my first year working, my mother took every last penny I made. I wasn't able to save. Not for a car, not for college, not for new clothes. Nothing.



2. Using public embarrassment as punishment.

We've all seen those viral photos of black parents giving their sons the "old man haircut," when they've gone to school and showed their ass by trying to "act grown" and they are hilarious... on the surface.

SEE ALSO: Having A Mental Illness Is So Much Different When You're Black

But public humiliation not only makes your child a target for bullying but can cause undue stress and lead to low self-esteem. Whatever happened to just spanking, sending us to bed without dinner or taking away our electronics for a weekend?

3. Threatening our lives.

First of all, it's counterproductive. Second of all, it's emotional abuse. If a husband did it to a wife, everyone would tell her to get out of the marriage. If someone did it to a co-worker, they'd probably be terminated, best case.

Worst case, the police would be called. So, why is it less harmful to do it to your own child?

4. Beating and physically abusing us.

Discipline is a big thing in black households. Belts, switches and big ass spoons are very familiar to the rear ends of many black children.

But some parents take it too far. I can remember at one point growing up my mom forcefully dragging me out of the car kicking and screaming and leaving me on the side of the road in the middle of the night for not responding to her in a conversation quick enough. Then when I finally made it home after a 10-minute walk, throwing a glass at my head upon walking through the door.

Was this really justified?

Now, spanking is one thing. A belt to the back of the legs is one thing. But beating your child is an entirely different animal. It's abuse. Stop teaching us that love and physical pain go hand in hand.

5. Discouraging us from pursuing the arts.

While the arts can oftentimes be a hard business to get into, it can also be very lucrative. Whether it's singing, writing, or directing, there are tons of avenues into the business, especially in 2017. Not to say you shouldn't encourage a backup plan, but life is too short and too sad to stand in the way of your children's creativity or dreams.

6. Partaking in homophobia and encouraging violence towards the LGBTQ community.

Homophobia is rampant in the black community, especially for the Caribbean community. This is something that probably won't change for a long while seeing as how the traumatic roots of black homophobia can be traced back to slavery.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things Black Kids Experience Growing Up In White Communities

However, this isn't so to say that the way the black community, in general, treats the LGBTQ community is at all justified. Many black people use the Bible to spread hate as if God didn't specifically tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves and leave all judgment to Him.

You don't have to condone the feelings others have about their own sexuality, you just need to mind your business.

7. Not allowing us to have emotions.

Black children are often not allowed to have emotions other than happiness or contentment about anything. The slightest of emotions are often shut down. In fact, black parents love to compete with their children. "Oh, you cryin' cus you scraped your knee? Boy, get up! I'm cryin' cus I got all these bills!"

And God forbid you slam a door out of anger.

8. Perceiving dissenting opinions as disrespect.

Black children really aren't allowed to have opinions outside of their parents' opinions.

Point. Blank. Period.

And bless your heart if any of your opinions on religion don't reflect those of your parents. There's no way you don't know this stifles your child's mental growth. It's one thing to want to shape your children, but what happens when they grow and realize they have no sense of self and can't get one because they have like zero original thoughts?

9. Not allowing us to have any personal space.

I wish I could have said the words "personal space" in my mom's house. There is nothing wrong with giving your children some alone time with their thoughts. You know you need it to stay sane, why would you assume your children don't?

10. Continuously using explicit language.

You have to know children watch everything you do and repeat everything you say. Set an example.

11. Pretending that you're never wrong and not apologizing when you are, in fact, dead wrong.

One thing every black millennial knows is that black parents don't apologize... for anything. Literally, nothing is their fault, ever. And there is not one time in the history of their life as a parent that they have ever been wrong.

A black mom could leave a pot on the stove, burn down the entire block and then have the nerve to blame her children for asking for some Easy Mac. Often times growing up, my mom would jump the gun and punish me for something I didn't do and upon realizing I was an innocent party, just go on living life like she didn't just mollywop my edges off. Just say sorry, sometimes.

12. Making us call everyone auntie or uncle.

Everyone is not our auntie or uncle and you really should be more careful about who you let around your children. Which leads me to my final point...

13. Ignoring sexual abuse and shaming your daughters.

That inappropriate cousin that flirts with all the ladies (including blood relatives) is nasty and should really not continuously be invited to family gatherings where children are present and you know it. Those uncles that you have that make you feel like you need to tell your teen daughters to put on longer pants or cover up with a jacket are predators and should not be invited to the house.

And when your daughter tells that your husband makes her sit on his lap when they are alone together, believe her.

She did not seduce your man and he needs to be in jail.


Feel free to add any that I have missed in the comment section below.

Cover Image Credit: Nathaniel Tetteh

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

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Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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To The Single Mom Who Raised Me, I Am Strong Because Of You

She brought me into this world and has definitely threatened to take me out.

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Without my mom, I don't know who I would be today. She has taught me many lessons but I believe the most important was to create my own independence and never depend on a spouse to take care of me. My mother went back to school when I was a young girl and thankfully we had my grandparents to help my mom raise me while she did school full time and worked two jobs.

My mom left a situation that she knew was not safe nor healthy for either of us and even though I did not understand why until I was older, I'm thankful that she did. I used to resent her for what she did but it wasn't until I was old enough to know and understand that I saw why and I felt terrible for blaming everything on her for years and years.

Even though we have our differences, my mom will always be my best friend and number one fan. We have differing views and opinions but that is because she taught me to be a free thinker and have an independent mindset. She taught me how to cook more homemade dishes than one could dream of and was proof that God works miracles. My mom is my best friend and without her, I don't know how I could ever make it through this life. There are many things we don't agree upon but in the end, we put that aside and love each other anyway.

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